Discomforts and Complications After a Child Has Surgery

What are common discomforts after surgery?

The amount of discomfort after surgery depends on the type of surgery done. Some typical discomforts include:

  • Nausea and vomiting from general anesthesia

  • Soreness in the throat. This can happen if the child had a breathing tube in place for a ventilator during the surgery. A ventilator helps with breathing.

  • Soreness and swelling around the incision site

  • Pain. As the anesthesia wears off, the child can experience mild to severe discomfort from the surgery.

  • Restlessness and sleeplessness

  • Thirst

  • Constipation and gas

What are possible complications after surgery?

Sometimes complications can occur after surgery. Here are some possible complications:

  • Shock. Shock is a dangerous drop in blood flow throughout the body. Shock most often appears as low blood pressure.

  • Bleeding. Blood loss from the site of surgery can lead to shock.

  • Wound infection. An infection can happen when bacteria enter the incision site. Infections can delay healing.

  • Lung problems. A lack of deep breathing during and after surgery can lead to lung problems. Your child's healthcare provider may recommend deep-breathing exercises to help keep the lungs healthy after surgery.

  • Other infections. Infections can occur in areas other than where the surgery occurred. This can include infections of the urinary tract and lungs.

  • Urinary problems. Your child may not be able to empty their bladder after surgery. This is caused by the anesthesia. This problem usually goes away soon after surgery.

  • Reaction to anesthesia. Although rare, reactions to anesthesia do occur.

How are discomforts and complications after surgery treated?

Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

How likely complications happen varies with each child and with each surgery. Ask your child's healthcare provider if you need more information.

Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2023
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